Energy expenditure and body temperature variations in llamas living in the High Andes of Peru

Alexander Riek (Corresponding Author), Anna Stölzl, Rodolfo Marquina Bernedo, Thomas Ruf, Walter Arnold, Catherine Hambly, John R. Speakman, Martina Gerken

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Abstract

Some large herbivores exhibit seasonal adjustments in their energy metabolism. Therefore, our aim was to determine if the llama (one of the most extensively kept livestock breeds) exhibits seasonal adjustment of their energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion, under its natural high altitude Andean habitat. For this purpose, energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion were measured in seven non-pregnant llama dams for ten months on the Andean High Plateau (4400 m above sea level). Daily energy expenditure was measured as field metabolic rate using the doubly labelled water method at four different measurement times. Additionally, a telemetry system was used to continuously record activity, body temperature (3 min intervals) as well as the position (hourly) of each animal. The results show that llamas adjusted their body temperature and daily energy expenditure according to environmental conditions. Furthermore, llamas under high altitude Andean climatic conditions exhibited a pronounced daily rhythm in body temperature and activity, with low values at sunrise and increasing values towards sunset. Llamas also had remarkably low energy expenditure compared to other herbivores. Thus, despite the domestication process, llamas have not lost the ability to adjust their body temperature and daily energy expenditure under adverse environmental conditions, similar to some wild herbivores.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4037
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2019

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llamas
Peru
energy expenditure
body temperature
herbivores
locomotion
dams (hydrology)
environmental factors
telemetry
domestication
energy metabolism
sea level
plateaus
livestock
breeds
habitats
animals
water

Keywords

  • ADAPTATION STRATEGIES
  • DAILY TORPOR
  • DOUBLY-LABELED WATER
  • HEART-RATE
  • HETEROTHERMY
  • HIBERNATION
  • HYPOMETABOLISM
  • METABOLIC-RATE
  • SEASONAL-CHANGES
  • THERMOREGULATION

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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Energy expenditure and body temperature variations in llamas living in the High Andes of Peru. / Riek, Alexander (Corresponding Author); Stölzl, Anna; Marquina Bernedo, Rodolfo; Ruf, Thomas; Arnold, Walter; Hambly, Catherine; Speakman, John R.; Gerken, Martina.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, 4037, 11.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Riek, Alexander ; Stölzl, Anna ; Marquina Bernedo, Rodolfo ; Ruf, Thomas ; Arnold, Walter ; Hambly, Catherine ; Speakman, John R. ; Gerken, Martina. / Energy expenditure and body temperature variations in llamas living in the High Andes of Peru. In: Scientific Reports. 2019 ; Vol. 9.
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abstract = "Some large herbivores exhibit seasonal adjustments in their energy metabolism. Therefore, our aim was to determine if the llama (one of the most extensively kept livestock breeds) exhibits seasonal adjustment of their energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion, under its natural high altitude Andean habitat. For this purpose, energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion were measured in seven non-pregnant llama dams for ten months on the Andean High Plateau (4400 m above sea level). Daily energy expenditure was measured as field metabolic rate using the doubly labelled water method at four different measurement times. Additionally, a telemetry system was used to continuously record activity, body temperature (3 min intervals) as well as the position (hourly) of each animal. The results show that llamas adjusted their body temperature and daily energy expenditure according to environmental conditions. Furthermore, llamas under high altitude Andean climatic conditions exhibited a pronounced daily rhythm in body temperature and activity, with low values at sunrise and increasing values towards sunset. Llamas also had remarkably low energy expenditure compared to other herbivores. Thus, despite the domestication process, llamas have not lost the ability to adjust their body temperature and daily energy expenditure under adverse environmental conditions, similar to some wild herbivores.",
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AU - Arnold, Walter

AU - Hambly, Catherine

AU - Speakman, John R.

AU - Gerken, Martina

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AB - Some large herbivores exhibit seasonal adjustments in their energy metabolism. Therefore, our aim was to determine if the llama (one of the most extensively kept livestock breeds) exhibits seasonal adjustment of their energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion, under its natural high altitude Andean habitat. For this purpose, energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion were measured in seven non-pregnant llama dams for ten months on the Andean High Plateau (4400 m above sea level). Daily energy expenditure was measured as field metabolic rate using the doubly labelled water method at four different measurement times. Additionally, a telemetry system was used to continuously record activity, body temperature (3 min intervals) as well as the position (hourly) of each animal. The results show that llamas adjusted their body temperature and daily energy expenditure according to environmental conditions. Furthermore, llamas under high altitude Andean climatic conditions exhibited a pronounced daily rhythm in body temperature and activity, with low values at sunrise and increasing values towards sunset. Llamas also had remarkably low energy expenditure compared to other herbivores. Thus, despite the domestication process, llamas have not lost the ability to adjust their body temperature and daily energy expenditure under adverse environmental conditions, similar to some wild herbivores.

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